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Regulation: Privacy, Right to Repair, and Gig Workers

A big regulation section today.     Virginia privacy law is taking top billing.   Essentially a copy of Washington state’s from last year, it’s considered rather business-friendly.     It’s expected to pass in a session concluding this month, and has the governor’s support.    It’s not the only one to come, with 6 other states currently examining legislation.

Maryland’s big tech tax law passed, as I mentioned last week – and it’s already being sued.     The US Chamber of Commerce and groups like the Internet Association (which makes up Amazon, Facebook, and Google among others) is taking it on.  

Meanwhile, on the right to repair front, 14 states are exploring legislation.  Here’s your list: New Jersey, Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, Vermont and Washington. 

France has another angle – a repairability index.     Last month, makers of certain electronics devices have to tell consumers how repairable the products are.     The repairability index includes criteria like how easy the product is to take apart and spare parts availability.     Fines come next year – and some companies are already releasing scores.  

And, let’s talk Prop 22 in California and the fallout.    Two articles I want to highlight.  First, Bloomberg highlighting how more industries are being impacted.    Grocery Delivery workers being fired and replaced by DoorDash workers on demand, or an op-ed by an Uber investor who thinks Prop 22 could be used to replace employees in industries from nursing to agriculture.

The second is a Verge piece about how all of those companies – Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart, and Postmates, have all raised prices after promising not to in their campaign to support Prop 22.

And how do I know this is a thing?  The Information has reported that Microsoft is building a freelancer market to take on Upwork and Fiverr.. based on LinkedIn.  

Why do we care?

Well, first off, let me observe the Wall Street Journal also has a piece about how restaurants and startups are looking to their own apps and tools to solve their own delivery needs.    With me thinking about eCommerce a lot – see Sunday’s editorial – that’s another piece in the puzzle

If you think gig workers aren’t in the IT services space, you’re not watching.   Companies like FieldNation are delivering this service already.     I’m not ENDORSING the approach; I’m simply saying I can see building an IT services company leveraging gig workers too.     Microsoft sounds like they are experimenting with delivering “white collar” workers by leveraging LinkedIn, and that’s smart – I get that idea.

This whole section is like a firehose of challenges and opportunities.  Right to repair?   Yeah, that’ll change the market.   Taxes on internet advertising? Yup.   New privacy laws?  Check.     Gig economy?  Check.

So, listeners, which should I be unpacking more?